Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's the point?

This morning on the bus, a man and a woman spent the 40 minutes of our trip discussing roofing, and construction contracting with the state. And at the end of the ride, as I left the bus, I wondered what was the point. It was a conversation, and maybe they enjoyed it. Maybe each of them shared information that the other hadn't known. But I don't think it is going to change anything. I don't think they're better people for the conversation. I don't think the state bid system is going to be improved. It was a little bit like gossip. At best, useless, as worst, hurtful (though in this case, I don't think anyone was hurt, well... I don't know. A couple of specific contractors were mentioned, it could affect whether or not either of them uses those contractors in the future.)

And a short time ago, I read Jennifer Fulwiler's post about her conversation with a gay friend. It seemed like she did a good job, and she got 70 plus comments, most supporting her effort, some not, but in the end, it was sort of like the conversation I overheard on the bus. Sort of, only.

I think part of what is sad is that so many of us aren't all that interested in the truth. Jennifer's friend didn't really seem interested in the truth, only in challenging her on her new Christian beliefs about gay marriage. Some of the commentators seemed similar, coming from their own pro or con starting point.

Spouses can be like that when they get into an argument. The egos, the pride gets all worked up, and it becomes much more about defending or cutting down or challenging or asserting than about the truth.

Many of say we care about the truth. But I don't think we really do. Caring about the truth requires deep humility (and I'm NOT saying I have it.) It requires a willingness to submit the intellect and the will to someone else who demonstrates that he knows the truth, primarily God, and the agents who cooperate to teach his truth. It requires a certain amount of faith, too, and it probably requires a lot more effort and even pain than most of us are willing to put into it. They say the truth hurts, and I think it often does, in one way or another.

When the truth flies in the face of what we want, or what we have, or what we desire, or what we've been doing or saying or thinking, it causes pain, and very often, very many of us are not willing to embrace truth because of what it must do to us, what it must require of us.

In the end, there is Jesus who said an extraordinary thing. He did not say I know the truth, as if it were external to himself, something he found or discovered. He said: "I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life." He said, He, a person, not an idea or a thing, but a person, IS the Truth. He didn't say A truth, as if there were several or many to choose from, but THE Truth.

He is THE Way to THE Truth, the Truth that leads to and gives THE Life.

This statement was in answer to Thomas's query. He said, "Lord, we don't know where you are going. How can we know the way?" If you read the whole passage, you can see that it is really about a relationship more than about doctrine and rules and regulations.

And the right kind of relationship with Jesus, is IN the Spirit and directed toward the Father. It is personal and corporate, it is intense and real, and it has to be ordered properly, in that Jesus, the Father and the Spirit are God, and we are his creatures. Without him we are nothing, and so our relationship must be in utter humility, and based on Love.

Then it's a lot easier to hear and "bear" the truth.

No comments: